If you didn’t catch it live last night there’s a really lovely concert up on the Royal Opera House Youtube channel which should be available for a couple of weeks. Tony Pappano is at the piano with Louise Alder singing Britten, Strauss and Handel, Toby Spence with some Butterworth plus Gerald Finley with Finzi, Turnage and Britten. The boys finish off with the Pearl Fishers duet. Along the way, Morgen is sung by Louise and danced quite beautifully to choreography by Wayne McGregor by Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales. It’s weird, and even eerie, to see a concert from a large empty theatre but there we are. Highly recommended.
Sephardic Treasures is a collection of traditional Sephardic songs in less traditional arrangements. The texts (Ladino and Spanish) and melodies are original and drawn from a collection of songs thought to originate in the 12th to 15th centuries. The arrangements, by bassist Alan Lewine, draw on jazz, flamenco and Israeli folk music incorporating instruments like bass, trumpet, flamenco guitar, piano, flute, shofar and percussion to create quite a range of styles that fit the texts well. All of this is grounded in the stylish and idiomatic singing of soprano Ana Maria Ruimonte. It’s fun listening. Some of the songs have that twisted, even gruesome, quality of a lot of medieval songs; husbands who have their wives executed, wives who feed their step children to their husbands etc, but others are very light hearted, like the one about the cat who is so surprised by a proposal of marriage that he falls off the roof and is killed but when they try to bury him in a sardine box the smell revives him!
There are two shows on June 18th. At 6pm EDT Parma records are hosting a concert of contemporary cello music featuring Ovidiu Marinescu. Then at 8pm it’s Opera Pub on Facebook Live from AtG Theatre. If you can’t catch it live it will likely show up on AtG’s Youtube channel a couple of days later.
So the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (https://ircpa.net) are putting on a Zoom event with ace soprano Sondra Radvanovsky for singers, other musicians and music lovers; which pretty much covers all of us!
Debra Chandler will moderate the conversation with Sondra and it will happen on Wednesday, June 17th, from 1-2 pm EDT. Featured topics will include Opera in the future, Live streaming content, Social Media yes/no?, advice to young singers and Screaming Divas. And if you haven’t been watching Screaming Divas you might want to give it a go.
The Royal Conservatory’s 2020/21 concert season has been announced.. It’s the usual eclectic mix of all kinds of classical music plus jazz and world music spread across the Conservatory’s three performance venues. It looks like the provisional planning is for some kind of social distancing. When that will be possible and how long it might go on is, of course, anybody’s guess but the planning assumes some kind of performances will be possible from October.
The Dora award nominations are in. The most interesting thing is that the COC doesn’t dominate the Opera category this year. In fact Tapestry has most nominations with thirteen. In general, it was really nice to see new “committed” opera dominating the list rather than the usual stuff. Indigenous themes did very well too which is very pleasing. Loads of nominations for Shanawdithit, including Best Performer in a Leading Role for Marion Newman, which pleases me greatly. Good to see FAWN’s Pandora and Soundstreams’ Two Odysseys: Pimooteewin / Gállábártnit featuring along with LooseTea’s Singing Only Softly/The Diary of Anne Frank: Operas from the Secret Annex. There was one surprise in the list of COC nominations. I’m actually quite shocked that Speranza Sperucci didn’t get nominated for her conducting of Barber of Seville; a really remarkable performance. And one non-surprise; multiple nominations for Rusalka which might just be the best thing the COC have done in quite a while.
So now we can all speculate on who the eventual winners will be.
For probably the first time in almost 200 years the 1809 original version of Gaspare Spontini’s Fernand Cortez ou la conquête de Mexique got a theatrical run last October. It was at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in a new edition by Paolo Petazzi where it was recorded for video release. There’s tons to unpack here because few people will be familiar with the work and if they are it will likely be in the very different 1817 version. It’s also a far from straightforward production.
Well, after a fashion… The good news is that Korean National Opera in Seoul is opening a run of Massenet’s Manon on June 25th. It’s with full orchestra, chorus etc but with only a restricted number of seats for sale. You can find out a lot more in the latest episode of Screaming Divas on Youtube. I’m guessing that this will likely be the only live opera on offer anywhere in the world this summer.
What is this anguish that each of us carries inside? That’s the central question of Thomas Larcher’s chamber opera Das Jagdgewehr that premiered at the Bregenz Festival in 2018. It’s based on a 1949 novel by Yasushi Inoue about a hunter, the three women in his life and the poet to whom he sends the women’s letters. It’s a stark, intense tale of love, death, secrecy, loss and betrayal told in a prologue and eleven scenes over about an hour and a quarter.